A systematic review of the use of positive deviance approaches in primary care

O’Malley, Roisin
O'Connor, Paul
Madden, Caoimhe
Lydon, Sinéad
O’Malley, Roisin, O’Connor, Paul, Madden, Caoimhe, & Lydon, Sinéad. (2021). A systematic review of the use of positive deviance approaches in primary care. Family Practice, 39(3), 493-503. doi: 10.1093/fampra/cmab152
Abstract Background: The Positive Deviance (PD) approach focuses on identifying and learning from those who demonstrate exceptional performance despite facing similar resource constraints to others. Recently, it has been embraced to improve the quality of patient care in a variety of healthcare domains. PD may offer one means of enacting effective quality improvement in primary care. Objective(s): This review aimed to synthesize the extant research on applications of the PD approach in primary care. Methods: Seven electronic databases were searched; MEDLINE, CINAHL, Embase, PsycINFO, Academic Search Complete, Psychology and Behavioral Sciences Collection, and Web of Science. Studies reporting original data on applications of the PD approach, as described by the PD framework, in primary care were included, and data extracted. Thematic analysis was used to classify positively deviant factors and to develop a conceptual framework. Methodological quality was appraised using the Quality Assessment with Diverse Studies (QuADS). Results: In total, 27 studies were included in the review. Studies most frequently addressed Stages 1 and 2 of the PD framework, and targeted 5 core features of primary care; effectiveness, chronic disease management, preventative care, prescribing behaviour, and health promotion. In total, 268 factors characteristic of exceptional care were identified and synthesized into a framework of 37 themes across 7 system levels. Conclusion: Several useful factors associated with exceptional care were described in the literature. The proposed framework has implications for understanding and disseminating best care practice in primary care. Further refinement of the framework is required before its widespread recommendation.
Oxford University Press
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